torment

noun
tor·​ment | \ ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \

Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or anguish of body or mind : agony She wrung her hands piteously together, looking like a soul in torment.— Lucy Maud Montgomery
2 : a source of vexation or pain Love is a delight; but hate a torment.— Herman Melville … the twin torments of his probable manic depression and chronic stomach pains.— Neal Karlen
3 : the infliction of torture (as by rack or wheel)

torment

verb
tor·​ment | \ tȯr-ˈment How to pronounce torment (audio) , ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \
tormented; tormenting; torments

Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause severe usually persistent or recurrent distress of body or mind to cattle tormented by flies tormented by doubt She liked me, but she laughed at me, and tormented me …— Charles Dickens
2 : distort, twist

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Other Words from torment

Verb

tormented adjective
… Emily — who is easily one of the most tormented characters of the show … — Rowan Born The Witch makes the mundane sinister, from the tormented shapes of the corn husks in the field to the weird glow of pewter by candlelight. — Katy Waldman

Synonyms & Antonyms for torment

Synonyms: Noun

agony, Gehenna, hell, horror, misery, murder, nightmare, torture

Synonyms: Verb

afflict, agonize, anguish, bedevil, beset, besiege, curse, excruciate, harrow, persecute, plague, rack, torture

Antonyms: Noun

heaven, paradise

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Choose the Right Synonym for torment

Verb

afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress. ills that afflict the elderly try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control. children often try their parents' patience torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance. a horse tormented by flies torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering. tortured by a sense of guilt rack stresses straining or wrenching. a body racked by pain

Examples of torment in a Sentence

Noun

No one could understand his inner torment. After years of torment, she left her husband. The mosquitoes were a constant torment.

Verb

Not knowing where she was tormented him. he was tormented by nightmares about the accident
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Now this is her penance: wake after wake, mother after mother, trying to spare them the solitary torment that almost killed her. Claire Galofaro, The Seattle Times, "Moms of the dead from drugs: “Where is the outrage for us?”," 29 Jan. 2019 Others this week and this morning have spoken to the depths of his torment and the depths of his courage there in the cells of Hanoi when day after day, year after year, that youthful iron was tempered into steel. WSJ, "Former President Barack Obama’s Remarks at McCain Memorial," 1 Sep. 2018 In fact, the existential horror of the Medium Place (boredom and a lack of cocaine) is treated with much more gravity than the possibility of eternal physical torment. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The (secular) gospel according to The Good Place," 5 Dec. 2018 In fact, the existential horror of the Medium Place (boredom and a lack of cocaine) is treated with much more gravity than the possibility of eternal physical torment. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The (secular) gospel according to The Good Place," 5 Dec. 2018 In fact, the existential horror of the Medium Place (boredom and a lack of cocaine) is treated with much more gravity than the possibility of eternal physical torment. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The (secular) gospel according to The Good Place," 5 Dec. 2018 By any measure, Hell is a cruel and oppressive concept: a place where sinners suffer unspeakable torments for all eternity for sins committed during their mortal lives. Scott G. Bruce, WSJ, "Do We Still Need to Believe in Hell?," 13 Sep. 2018 Once again Kevin Systrom goes onstage somewhere and is not forced to answer exactly what led to his departure at Instagram, to my everlasting torment. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook has a growing morale problem," 15 Nov. 2018 Others this week and this morning have spoken to the depths of his torment and the depths of his courage there in the cells of Hanoi when day after day, year after year that youthful iron was tempered into steel. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Barack Obama's Speech at John McCain's Funeral," 1 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The only hitch is that the Bad Place purposefully selected participants that would trigger the worst qualities in Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason, including a gossip columnist named John who tormented Tahani, as well as Chidi's ex, Simone. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Season 4 of 'The Good Place' Sounds Like It Will Be the Most Righteous One Yet," 3 May 2019 Nightingale did indeed rescue an owl from some children who were tormenting the animal at the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Did Queen Victoria Really Meet Florence Nightingale?," 4 Feb. 2019 Back then, Hubbard was an exceedingly tall safety tormenting receivers in the secondary. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Ex-Moeller, Ohio State standout Hubbard working to prove his stock in NFL," 16 Jan. 2018 In Season 2, Michael repeatedly wipes the memories of the four humans in order to continue tormenting them, but each time the group figures out what's really happening. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Season 4 of 'The Good Place' Sounds Like It Will Be the Most Righteous One Yet," 3 May 2019 In Antonello da Messina’s life-size oil (1478-79), the largely nude saint is impervious to torment and gazes into the heavens, his pious virtue equated with his Apollonian beauty, which was modeled after classical sculpture. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, "‘The Renaissance Nude’ Review: The Body, Sacred and Sensual," 14 Nov. 2018 Thanks to the advent of the Internet with its warren of chat rooms, anonymous websites and Facebook comments and the increased sophistication of cellphones, bullies have a whole host of newer and subtler ways to torment their victims. Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Redbook, "Anti-Bullying Week: The Conversation Parents Need To Have," 16 Nov. 2011 Ostrem's stepsister, Michelle Willoughby, told The Denver Post that he has been tormented by voices in his head since taking LSD nearly 30 years ago. Fox News, "Judge enters not guilty plea for suspect in Walmart killings," 24 Aug. 2018 The Headmaster torments young mutants and teaches them that their powers are sinful. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Deadpool 2' Villain Was Influenced by Charlottesville Riots," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'torment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of torment

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for torment

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French turment, torment, from Latin tormentum torture; akin to torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near torment

Torinese

toringin

torma

torment

tormentedly

tormentil

Tormentilla

Statistics for torment

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for torment

The first known use of torment was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for torment

torment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: extreme physical or mental pain
: something that causes extreme physical or mental pain

torment

verb

English Language Learners Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone or something) to feel extreme physical or mental pain

torment

verb
tor·​ment | \ tȯr-ˈment How to pronounce torment (audio) \
tormented; tormenting

Kids Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cause severe suffering of body or mind to Flies tormented the cattle.
2 : vex sense 1, harass All last year we tormented Webb. Mostly little stuff, like messing with his locker …— Jerry Spinelli, Crash

torment

noun
tor·​ment | \ ˈtȯr-ˌment How to pronounce torment (audio) \

Kids Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or distress of body or mind
2 : a cause of suffering in mind or body The waiting was torment.

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More from Merriam-Webster on torment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with torment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for torment

Spanish Central: Translation of torment

Nglish: Translation of torment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of torment for Arabic Speakers

Comments on torment

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